Kate Hawkesby: It's not just experts who have something to offer during this crisis

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 11:19AM
Rob Fyfe’s leading a group who’s doing amazing things, (Photo / File)

Kate Hawkesby: It's not just experts who have something to offer during this crisis

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 11:19AM

We are all too aware of the negatives during this time so it’s nice to see some positives.

The often criticized ‘entrepreneurs’ who were chastised initially for having too much to say, are finally being recognized for all the good they’re actually doing here.

Rob Fyfe’s leading a group who’s doing amazing things, donating to food banks, sourcing and importing PPE equipment, developing software to manage frontline medical staff, offering logistics support, manufacturing key components for domestic ventilator manufacture, to name a few.

These are people who’ve put their own businesses on the backburner to redeploy people and resources to help manage our battle against this virus. To help the government. To go where’s needed most, to fill gaps. They also add a wealth of experience and knowledge, they collectively have decades of experience and are connected enough to be able to make things happen.

Which is why I was disappointed to see some people poo-pooing the involvement of big business in this response.

Why would the answer to anyone wanting to help or assist not be an enthusiastic yes please? Why would be so churlish and cynical at a time like this as to say, oh they’re not experts, no thanks. How many people running our response to this are experts?

But also, why would we ignore the voices of business who are, after all, at the frontline of this economically?

Pulling together is what’s needed here, but plurality of voices is important too. We are facing a time of mass compliance with rules and regulations, but that doesn’t mean we have to shut down all the voices at the table.

I read this weekend, an essay on what's happening right now by one of the most pre-eminent anthropologists of medicine in the world, a public health expert and scientist with more than 30 years’ experience, Jean-Dominique Michel.

He said, “Above all, this civil obedience must not lead to a ban on thinking or speaking… Making what we experience meaningful, getting information, daring to ask questions, is not only an inalienable right but also a vital necessity.. the more citizens who take an interest in what is happening to us.. the better it will help us engage in a dialogue about what we are experiencing, which is essential for both our individual mental health and our collective resilience.”

In short, yes we comply, but don’t switch your brain off in the process, don’t stop listening to all the voices speaking up during this time, and don’t be afraid to use yours. No we’re not all ‘experts’, but we do all have something to offer.